Arrests Made In Alleged Central Florida Plot To Defraud Home Depot And Sell Equipment
According to reporting from the Orlando Sentinel, several arrests have been made in connection with an alleged plot by a Florida man to defraud Home Depot out of more than $1 million worth of equipment. The scheme involves renting equipment from the company and then turning around and selling it online. Here, our Orlando criminal defense attorney discusses the allegations and provides an overview of the criminal charges that were filed against the defendants.
Allegations: Florida Man Concocted Scheme to Defraud Home Depot
A Florida man and several accomplices were arrested following a state-wide investigation into the theft and sale of heavy equipment from Home Depot stores across the state. The group allegedly rented equipment like Toro Dingo utility loaders, stump grinders, and mini-excavators from the retail chain, failed to return them, and subsequently sold them on social media platforms.
False identities were used to rent out the equipment. A Central Florida man named Byron Johnson is accused of being the leader of the scam. Mr. Johnson has been arrested and is currently in custody. Law enforcement officers in Central Florida state that they are still actively investigating the matter and may pursue additional charges against other alleged accomplices.
An Overview of the Charges: Grand Theft, Scheme to Defraud, Dealing in Stolen Property
Mr. Johnson and the alleged accomplices are facing a wide array of criminal charges in this case. Here is an overview of the three main offenses:
- Grand Theft: In Florida, grand theft refers to the intentional and unlawful taking of someone else’s property, valued at $750 or more, with the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the owner of its use or possession. Penalties for grand theft depend on the value of the stolen property and can be classified into three degrees, with first-degree grand theft carrying the harshest penalties.
- Scheme to Defraud: Under Florida law, a scheme to defraud refers to a systematic, ongoing course of conduct with the intent to defraud one or more persons, or with the intent to obtain property from one or more persons, by false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises. This crime can be classified as either a first- or second-degree felony, depending on the value of the property or money involved.
- Dealing in Stolen Property: Dealing in stolen property is the act of trafficking in, or endeavoring to traffic in, property that one knows or should know was stolen. In Florida, this is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and a $10,000 fine. If the individual engages in an organized effort to deal in stolen property, the crime can be charged as a first-degree felony with more severe penalties.
Contact Our Orlando, FL Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
At The Baez Law Firm, our Orlando criminal defense attorney is a skilled, experienced, and effective advocate for defendants. If you or your loved one was arrested and charged with any type of theft offense, we are here as a legal resource. Reach out to us by phone or connect with us online to set up your initial appointment. With an office in Orlando, we serve communities throughout the area.